STAFF at the University of Worcester have welcomed students and staff from the California State University, Los Angeles, to launch a pilot study scheme between the two universities.
Dr Ramani Durvasula, a well-known psychologist in the United States and Professor of Psychology at California State University, joined nine of her Psychology students in Worcester for a two-week long study tour, designed to give students a broader, more global perspective on their studies.
Although the universities have collaborated before, this is the first time Psychology students have been involved.
Students from both universities took part in lectures delivered by staff from both universities.
Dr Durvasula, who delivered a talk to staff and students on Narcissism in America, said she hoped for further such courses in future and a reciprocal arrangement for Worcester students.
“Psychology is often a very siloed discipline where you deal with the culture playing out in front of you,” she said.
“This module forces our students to think about what’s different, what’s the same and how does culture motivate that.
“It’s looking at a response to cultural experience, rather than an individual psychological approach.”
“The aim for the students is to get them to think more holistically about mental health and mental illness not just in the USA and not just in Britain, but to look at two models and at global mental health.
“For six of the nine students it’s their first time out of the United States. It’s one thing to talk about different perspectives, it’s quite another to go and get them in another country while there. To be here and talk with people here is broadening their scope and broadening them as people.”
Dr Durvasula, who appears regularly in the American media to comment on topical issues, said there were similarities that could be drawn between the two universities, particularly in the desire for inclusiveness and making higher education accessible to all.
“I think the accessibility at Worcester is great,” she said.
“We do see students with some mobility limitations at our campus in the US but, relatively speaking, we saw it more here at your campus. It was great to see how accessible all areas of the campus were.
“Anything that can create inclusivity is good. To see here that there’s promotion that neither physical health or mental health should be exclusionary is great – I think it’s important to get that reinforced to students.”